By Mark Kitchin
When Madison boys basketball coach Bill Librera was hired as the Chatham High Athletic Director, the Dodgers had to work quickly to find a replacement for their varsity program — in the middle of June, they hired one.
Randolph High assistant coach Mike Radzieski has taken over the Madison program. A former Hofstra athlete who grew up in Queens, he is already having an impact on the Dodgers during the summer months.
“It’s an exciting opportunity,’’ Radzieski said. “I tried to keep my eyes open. I was living in Rockaway. I was looking for any kind of physical education job. I can’t think of a more ideal situation. It’s an incredible athletic program. It’s just an incredible staff. They notified me about four (now five) weeks ago. I had a team meeting that first week. We’ve had a few open gyms. We scrimmaged with a few local schools. We have a great group of kids.’’
Librera was approved by the Board of Education for the School District of the Chathams in early June and took over his new position on July 1.
Librera compiled a 78-46 record over six seasons at Madison. The last two seasons have been exceedingly successful, Madison posting a 17-8 mark in the 2010-11 season. Last year Madison finished at 20-5 but was bounced by West Essex in the opening round of state tournament play.
Radzieski played scholastically at Christ the King and entered Hofstra as a Jay Wright recruit. He red-shirted his freshman season and played all four years under Tom Pecora while majoring in physical education. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound athlete scored more than 700 points and 350 rebounds in his four-year Hofstra career. His most prolific season was in 2002-03 when he averaged close to 30 minutes a game. He scored 9.8 points and grabbed 4.3 rebounds.
After his collegiate career, he considered playing basketball overseas in Poland where he has dual citizenship, but eventually decided to stay in the U.S. and worked for a number of years in sales for a health services company.
However, coaching his favorite sport was intriguing to him. He began his coaching career at the club level for the New Jersey Thunder with the encouragement of Roxbury coach Jon Deeb. His ability impressed current Randolph coach Bill Kilduff enough to get him a position with the Rams as a freshman coach the last few seasons.
Radzieski has not elaborate plans for the Dodgers as of yet. He has been able to get to know them in the last month from work outs and scrimmages in open gyms.
“My philosophy has been focusing on the defensive side of the court,’’ Radzieski said. “Regardless I’m going to be a strong teacher of fundamentals. I want us to be an aggressive, up tempo team. There are not too many teams that are that way. Great teams like Mendham, top defenses get into their face. I’m allowing them to play hard and make mistakes.’’